A MelanieM Review: Something Wild by Anna Martin

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

I enjoy the writings of Anna Martin and looked forward to something a little different from her latest release, Something Wild.  It has just a smattering of Jurrassic Park about it, however, in this case, there is no genetic tampering but islands that had been discovered with dinosaurs living on them all long somewhere in the Pacific ocean.  Yes, a bit of a stretch but go with it.

A quick moving science fiction romance, it has elements of some action adventure (of course, there’s dinosaurs involved) and espionage, to go along with the romance.  For me the romance is one that you could call “instalove” given that the men themselves go from frenemies (loudly arguing over science papers etc) to lovers in a blink of an eye.  But the characters themselves are so engaging that the jump into bed and a full blown relationship that could get them fired gets an eye roll and then accepted.

I also liked the dinosaurs, Dizzy included, and would have loved to have had this element made more inclusive here.  We get some realistic science work and labs which is then promptly thrown out the window narratively speaking for the sake of the plot and some action adventure.  Neither of which made sense given the intensity of these men’s previous careers and their commitment to them and their jobs.  They start of as highly praised professionals in their fields and then start acting as interns flying about the island.  That sort of puzzled me to no end.

Same for other characters.  Loved the mothers, but the character of one lab assistant/roommate had a personality that first read older, then younger, then older.  No  real foundation to her, although she started out so strong.  A real shame.  That more of less happened throughout the story.  Certain elements or storylines started out of the narrative gate with real appeal or fullness but sort of petered out, leaving holes as the story trudged towards it’s ending.   And then there was that ending.  Oddly unsatisfying.  The epilogue trailed off, with no certain resolutions to specific problems.

Did I enjoy this?  Sure.  Will I remember it?  Hmmm, probably not.  It was fun, but the issues kept stopping me here and there just enough to make me question certain things and I need a steady read all the way through for a total enjoyment in my stories.  How do you all feel about that?  If cute dinosaurs and scientists in love are your thing, check out Something Wild by Anna Martin.

Cover Design: Alexandria Corza.  Come on.  The model looks like Kit so that works but why not at least give us a dinosaur instead of tracks.  Just ok cover.

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07WN8VWVF

Length: 67,000 words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The first part of the book shows little snippets in the life of three different boys. During a traumatic event, Kaegan discovers Christmas. Over time, Inverkillen, in the Scottish Highlands, becomes his magical place where it is eternal Christmas. As his life becomes more and more unpleasant due to his twin Herne, he plots his escape from Faerieland to his new created home. Aiden’s childhood was horrible, and adulthood isn’t seeming much better, yet despite his disabilities and circumstances, he still has an open heart. The trauma Pascal suffered as a child has left him afraid to care too much about anyone or anything while depression wants to swallow him whole. Aiden is like a willow constantly blown over, while Pascal is like an oak struck by lightning. First Kaegan meets Aiden, but timing is everything. Then Kaegan meets Pascal and changes his life. Kaegan wants them both, thinks they could be happy together and invites them to his magical place. What will they think if they actually show up? But, Kaegan isn’t human and Herne continues to threatens his happiness.

Yes, it has insta-lust, but the love takes time to develop. Be warned it also contains violence, torture, domestic abuse, child abuse, attempted suicide, and addiction. There are parts of this that are all too real, and parts that are fantastical to give the reader a break from it all, to give us hope. I got a fortune cookie once that read, “say yes to something you would normally say no to.” I did, and it ended up being one of the favorite nights of my life. This book reminds me of that moment, when Aiden and Pascal say yes and actually reach for something different, even if it doesn’t seem like a good idea. If fact, it sounds crazy and ends up being quite dangerous.

The references to pop culture are very self aware. I have a friend who talks about how everything goes into his brain like a meat grinder and art comes out the other end. Through the unbelievable circumstances, what keeps this going are the thoughts they each have that the reader is privy to and the communication between them, which is real: funny, touching, sexy, at times bawdy. I laughed out loud several times. Having all three points of view enhances this story immensely. With all the things these men have experienced in their lives, there is a feeling of carpe diem, but also a longing for something good to last, to stay and the reader will want that for them. With Aiden’s scars and disabilities, his own doubts are heartbreaking, but he’s so likable because he usually doesn’t let them get in the way. As his trust is finally honored, he really shines. The sex scenes get hotter and hotter the more emotionally involved the men are, but there is also joy. As the deadline of New Year’s Day approaches, the tension is ratched up until the final confrontation with Herne. In some ways Pascal is more of a mystery than the other two; I think less time is spent in his thoughts, yet that is rectified at the end. While Aiden gets the plot twist, Pascal’s is the story of personal growth and second chances. Kaegan is the one I feel ends up with the least amount of resolution, it’s there, but it’s a whimper rather than a bang. Ultimately, his happiness is enough.

There was one thing that occurred to me: the reader knows Kaegan can’t read Aiden’s mind, but IF all fae can read minds like Kaegan, they would know Pascal wasn’t a creation of Kaegan’s. Happily the faeries seems to have differing degrees of power, so I can’t be sure and it isn’t brought up. There was also the part of the story that got bogged down a bit in the pacing, when Pascal is trapped in the village. While that is absolutely necessary to the story arc of his character, it was not as captivating to read. I can see myself rereading this, but might have to skim that part now that I already know what happens. The plot is enchanting, with an emotional core that gives it much more depth than most holiday stories. It also has the best HEA I can imagine, given the plot. Overall I think this story did everything it set out to do; it was sexy, moving, and fun.

The cover design by is by B4Jay. I love when covers not only have actual significance to the story, but are integral. The darkness of the three figures echoes their lives. I like that the details aren’t there while they are still becoming their best selves with each other, with magic all around them.

Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 254 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2019 by self-published
Edition Language English

A Lila Review: A Long Road to Love by Dakota Storm

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dr. Gabe Adler has had a crush on Chase, his best friend’s brother, since forever. But after one, sweet encounter Chase turned Gabe away and they haven’t spoken for years.

Then a midnight call from his best friend Dylan sends Gabe to the hospital. Chase had been shot in the line of duty and, with no family nearby, Gabe is the only one Dylan can trust to look out for his brother.

Gabe checks on Chase and realizes his injuries are even worse than expected. After Chase pulls through an emergency operation, he wakes up to Gabe watching over him. Will he kick Gabe out of his life again? Or can they make a new start?

A Long Road to Love is a short story full of love and hope. It shows that a relationship can withstand time and separation even when it’s based on a friendship.

It’s easy to see Gabe’s wanting and Chase’s need. Plus, it has a handful of promising secondary characters.

There’s no much interaction between the main characters but we learned about their past. This story could be the prologue to a full length novel. Which I would love to read.

The cover by Writing Ink Designs is very generic and pretty much has nothing to do with the story. The blurb definitely pulls more weight with the reader.

Sale Links: JMS | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:
ebook, 100 pages
ISBN: 9781646560752
Published: September 21, 2019, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

Blog Tour for A Hive of Secrets and Spells by Ellen Jane (excerpt and giveaway)

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A Hive of Secrets and Spells by Ellen Jane

Release Date: October 25, 2019

Subgenre: Lesbian Cozy Mystery Romance

Order here:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YFJ8F2F

 

Synopsis for A Hive of Secrets and Spells:

Cupcakes, romance, and lovable canines abound in Heather and Sinead’s next adventure, but it isn’t all fun and games. The girlfriends are investigating a very personal kidnapping, and the threatening notes left behind accuse Sinéad and her punk-rocker twin brother of hiding something.

But after solving their first mystery together last Christmas, this one should be a piece of cake.After all, no one’s been murdered this time, and their witch-sorcerer rivalry is a thing of the past.Except it turns out there is a murderer, and a jewel thief as well, and why on earth does everyone keep talking about bees?

It appears Starford is a lot more exciting than Heather’s home town of Old Wetchhaven, and Sinéad’s insistence that Heather move in with her brings a whiff of trouble to their private paradise. Can Heather adjust to life near the big city? Or will the mounting secrets prove too much and turn their second case into their last?

A Hive of Secrets and Spells is a witch cozy mystery with a sweet lesbian romance and heart-warming magic.

 

Excerpts

Ever since she discovered cooking, Heather had baked her emotions away. Salves, elixirs, and potions were more natural to her when it came to magic, but she loved to bake and she had worked on strengthening her baking magic for years—during the last year, particularly—until it was almost as strong as her potions.

The magical community still debated why particular magical talents called to some and not others. Could a witch or sorcerer choose which talent their magic showed itself through? Or were they drawn to a talent because it held their magic? Either way, whether Heather had chosen cooking or it had chosen her, it had always been the thing she turned to when stress and emotion overwhelmed her.

For a moment, she considered trying to use the block of beech again, but the thought of spending all night trying futilely to recover her parents’ voices made her stomach twist. She didn’t want to think about any of that—not the lost voicemail she was trying so hard to ignore, not the fact she couldn’t make her magic work the beech the way it needed to, not the case. Heather needed a break from all of it.

She cleared the bench and began to set out ingredients, not paying particular attention to what she selected, just picking based on what felt good. The night air, surprisingly warm for November, filtered through the open sliver of window. She moved barefoot across the tiles, mixing flour and cocoa and this and that until a biscuit dough began to emerge.

Humming to herself, she lined the biscuits onto a tray and slid them into the oven. The precise spell she had baked into them remained a mystery, but whatever it turned out to be, it had already suffused the kitchen with a gentle, inviting thrum of energy.

She turned around and nearly jumped a foot in the air when she saw Sinéad leaning in the doorway, lips curved into a gentle smile.

“Can’t sleep?” Sinéad asked.

Heather grinned and shook her head.

“Funny that.” Sinéad pushed away from the doorframe and came to sit at the breakfast counter. “Neither can I.”

Heather noticed then that Sinéad’s hands were covered in small spots of paint. That explained why she hadn’t disturbed Sinéad getting out of the bed; Sinéad hadn’t even been in it.

“Does painting help?” Heather asked.

Sinéad nodded. “It always has.”

“Come up with any answers, then?”

“Absolutely none.” Sinéad gave her a wry smile. “Find anything useful hiding in the sugar tin?”

“Rudely empty of everything but sugar.”

“Rats.”

They smiled at each other, eyes soft in the dim light of the lamp. Heather held up the bag of icing sugar.

“Want to help decorate?”

Author Bio:

Ellen Jane Phillips is an Australian indie author of wlw romance. She loves writing about LGBTQ women who experience complex lives, emotions, needs, and desires. Her books are written for people who crave love stories where friendship is just as important as romance, and who want to experience cosy warmth with a hint of mystery, magic, and emotion.

You can find her writing under two pen names: Ellen Jane, and E.J. Phillips. If you like light, cosy wlw romance suffused with magic and mystery, Ellen Jane is the pen name for you. If you prefer something a little heavier, and you like your wlw romance tinged with magic and tender angst, E.J. Phillips is the one you want. When she isn’t writing, you can find her walking the dogs, playing D&D, or bemoaning the number of days since she last ate nachos.

Author links:

Website: www.ellenjanephillips.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/ellenjanewrites

Tumblr: https://ellenjanewrites.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellenjanewrites

 

Giveaway:

Win one of 2 packages with e-copies of Magic, Murder & Mistletoe, A Hive of Secrets and Spells & A Match Made at Christmas by Ellen Jane.

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Join Us for the New Release Book Blitz for Sons of Rome by Karrie Roman (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Sons of Rome

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 28, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77300

Genre: Historical, LGBT, PTSD, soldiers, military, age gap, disabilities, war, ancient Rome, virgins

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Synopsis

9CE Germania

Battle weary and fearless Centurion Drusus Tuscus has only three more years in the Roman Legions and then he can return home to the mother and young brother he was forced to leave behind seventeen summers ago. Drusus has suffered much during his years in the Legions: defeats, fallen comrades and excruciating wounds, but this time the stakes are so much higher. As he prepares to lead his warriors from the safety of their winter base, across the Rhine into the wilds of Germania, he awaits the arrival of new recruits to bolster his century. With these men he will face the ferocious barbarian tribes, many still chafing under the yoke of Roman subjugation.

When his friend and Optio returns with the new men, two faces in the crowd change everything for Drusus. His brother, long lost to him and now a man, stands before him and he brings with him a friend, a man named Caius. A man who stirs the long dead fires of Drusus’s heart. Two men, neither of whom Drusus is willing to lose to a barbarian blade.

As the campaign begins, whispers of betrayal and rebellion stoke a fear in Drusus, especially as his arrogant commander refuses to take heed of the warnings. As catastrophe stalks their footsteps Drusus must balance his duty to Rome with his love for Caius. He will give everything he has to save his beloved brother, and Caius, the man who has stolen his heart.

Two lives that mean more to Drusus than his own.

Excerpt

Sons of Rome
Karrie Roman © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
8 BCE

Of the many things he would miss about his life, Drusus could not decide which he would yearn for most—his mother’s sweet smiles or his baby brother’s happy babbling. Of course, he loved the land around his family’s farm and would miss the beasts as well as the hard, honest work he toiled at day after day. But his family? Oh gods, how he would miss them.

Only two years ago, having barely reached his eighteenth summer, Drusus had become head of his family after the death of his father. Little Calpurnius, his brother, was barely two summers into his life then, having come along as a great surprise to his parents after many years of failed attempts at a second child. With his loveable nature and adorable face, Calpurnius had easily become the light of the Tuscus family. The time between Calpurnius’s birth and the death of his father had been a happy time for Drusus’s family.

“Drusus, you take too much time,” his mother called.

Agrippina Tuscus was devastated by the loss of her husband, and now, so soon after, she was losing her eldest son to the Emperor’s legions. Drusus had been conscripted. They’d always known it a possibility—more of a certainty—but, nonetheless, Drusus and his mother felt the blow when they finally came for him.

Drusus was not a coward, and he had little fear of battle. He dreaded leaving his mother and little Calpurnius though. They had slaves to tend the farm, and he knew each of them to be loyal. But there was no man of blood here, no Roman man left behind to defend what was left of his family should the need arise. And his family in danger scared him more than any battle could.

“I am taking the land into memory, Mother, so I will not forget what I am fighting for,” he answered as his mother came to stand beside him. Drusus was an unusually tall man who stood above most but towered over his diminutive mother. She looked so fragile beside him, and yet he’d seen her turn into the lioness when the need arose, especially in the care of her children.

“You fight for Roma, son. For Roma’s glory and honour. For Emperor Augustus.”

“I fight for you and Calpurnius too. I fight to keep you safe. I fight for this.” He spread his arms wide and cast them over the panorama of their land: the rolling green hills heavy with wandering sheep, snow-peaked mountains far in the distance, cypress trees swaying gently in the breeze. The wildflowers were due to bloom soon, bringing with them their honeyed fragrance as well as the chirps of a thousand cicadas.

He’d miss it all. The aroma of Cassia’s bread as it baked on the hearth, and even the dry dirt that needed tilling for seeding—and got everywhere—would be missed. The melodious banter of slaves as they worked at the jobs he should be doing were it not for his conscription, the bleat of the sheep, the low calls of the cattle in the field: he’d miss everything. Wherever he went, he’d experience similar sights and sounds, but they wouldn’t be home.

“I would have you stay, Drusus.”

“I cannot, Mother. It is a citizen’s duty to fight with the legions for Roma.” He pressed a tender kiss into her hair, the scent of olive oil and farm life potent in the strands.

“I know, son. I speak selfishly. I will miss you though. It will be many years before you return. Little Cal will not know his brother.” For twenty years, his life would belong to Roma; he’d be nothing more than another body in the cog keeping the Roman war machine turning.

Drusus saw his mother turn her gaze to where Calpurnius was playing with one of his kittens—exactly as he did—at the mention of his beloved brother. He watched the boy’s cherubic face light up in fits of giggles as the kitten rolled playfully all over him. With Cal’s white curls framing his pinked cheeks, he had the look of a god. All who met Calpurnius fell for his charms.

“Pray the gods I make it home before he is sent to the legions.” Drusus flinched at his thoughtless words, knowing they would cause his mother more pain.

As a true Roman woman, his mother ignored his insensitive words, stoically bearing Drusus’s departure instead. “Be safe, Drusus. And do not fear for those of us left behind.”

His mother wrapped her arms around him and held tight. Drusus mirrored her actions, doing his best not to think this may be the last time he held her—saw her. His sweet, kind mother.

He eventually pulled away and took her face in his hands, his gaze intent on her as he did his best to brand her image into his memory. Her dark curls and gentle eyes, the crinkles at the corner of them from years of laughter, her sun-kissed skin. She was still a beauty, even though youth had passed her. He had hopes she would find a good man to marry her one day soon, but he knew his father held her heart even from the afterlife.

Calpurnius was playing with his kitten when Drusus took leave of his mother and went in search of him for their goodbyes. He wasn’t sure Cal comprehended what was happening. The little boy understood Drusus was going away, but the idea of twenty years meant nothing to a child of four. Drusus wondered how long it might take for Cal to stop thinking every day maybe this would be the one his brother returned. How long before Cal forgot him entirely?

“Dru, kitten scratched my arm.” Calpurnius thrust his arm out to show him the offending wound as he approached. His little lip quivered as he looked at the tiny knots of blood left in the wake of the little cat’s sharp claws.

Drusus kneeled before his brother and scooped him into his arms. He kissed the scratch repeatedly until Calpurnius finally giggled and pushed him away.

“Kitten was only playing, Cal. He did not realise how sharp his claws are or how fragile your skin is.”

“You go now?”

“Yes, Cal. It is time for me to go.” He pressed a kiss into soft curls. “I want you to remember you are a Roman man. Earn your honour through your duty to Roma and your family. Treat others well, Calpurnius, and you will make our father proud.”

Calpurnius nodded, clearly intuiting this was an important moment but not understanding why. Drusus seared his mind with this image, too, as his little brother watched him with large blue eyes burning with trust and love.

“I will miss you, little one. Always remember somewhere in the world you have a brother who loves you.”

“You come back?” Calpurnius’s tiny hands rested on his cheeks, pushing them and pursing Drusus’s lips as Cal loved to do. Drusus was willing to give anything right then not to have to go. He understood his obligation to Roma, but the ache in his chest was making leaving to complete his duty so difficult. He’d be gone for so long.

“One day, Cal. Give your brother a kiss before I go,” he requested. Calpurnius dutifully delivered a sloppy kiss to each cheek before Drusus leaned forward and blew into the side of his neck, making the noise that so amused the little ones. He set his brother on his feet and patted his bottom. “Off you go now, and find your kitten. Be good to our mother, Cal. Her heart aches today.”

Drusus watched him for a moment before he turned and walked away from everyone and everything he’d ever known without looking back. He feared if he did so his feet would stop carrying him to the road he must now travel. He didn’t know which legion he’d be sent to or what part of the world he’d be shedding blood and tears in. All he knew was the ache in his own chest at leaving was so painful and crippling that surely no wound he might suffer in battle could ever be worse.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

Website | Twitter

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Something Wild by Anna Martin

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Length: 67,000 words
 
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
 
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
 
Blurb



The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.


But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.


Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.


With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

 
Author Bio
 

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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